By Will McClure
Stamford's square is looking to be a lot more festive this holiday season as local citizens and businesses are asking for donations to help decorate the square for the Christmas holidays. Although Stamford has seen Santa Claus and his reindeer in the windows above Your Time Fitness, a staple of the town square for many years, Stamford has not seen the square decorated with Christmas lights and decorations for several years. Recently, Mayor Johnny Anders created a Facebook group known as "Christmas Lighting on the Square" in an effort to use social media to help raise the funds needed to help bring these decorations to the square once again and show off Stamford's Christmas spirit.
Created on November 10, the Facebook group was designed to help spread the word of the fundraising effort with a goal of $10,000 to help purchase all of the decorations needed to help light up the square. Anders, in the Facebook group, said that the square "used to be really lit up and decorated for Christmas...it's been too long since we showed our community spirit in decorating." Anders also noted that other towns in the area have usually decorated their downtown areas to show off their spirit to visitors stopping or passing through town. In recent years, Stamford's square has only featured Santa Claus in the windows above Your Time Fitness, a staple of the town's square since 1940, and a few small decorations, a far cry from the festive spirit that once filled up the square along with an annual Christmas parade. It is the hope that this fundraising effort will once again bring that spirit back.
Anders noted that this fundraiser is not a project of the City of Stamford or the City Council. Instead, it is an effort by local businesses and citizens who want to see downtown Stamford decorated for the Christmas season. Anders said that the Chamber of Commerce will match $5,000 once the project receives $5,000 in donations. As of Thursday morning, Anders reported that donations have exceeded $2,250 with donations from Stamford Insurance, Swenson's, Jerry's Oilfield, Jim Raughton Farmer's Insurance, Stamford Kiwanis Club, and other individuals. Anders was confident that the goal could be reached.
Even though the square has not been as lit up as previous years, it is the hope that the effort will help Stamford really show its pride during the holiday season. Ever since the Santa display was first put in the window over what used to be Kinney's Furniture in 1940, the Christmas spirit has never left the town of Stamford, with the display still running on the same motor and running gear. Even with only a few decorations, Stamford has tried to show its Christmas spirit. However, with the fundraising effort sure to be a success at this point, there is no doubt that the square will once again be a festive sight as citizens and visitors from out of town can see that with big hearts, hard work and even a little Christmas magic the holiday spirit is begin brought back to downtown Stamford.
Anyone wishing to donate to help buy decorations can do so at the Chamber of Commerce in person or by mail at 107 E. McHarg, Stamford, TX, 79553 and make sure to note that the donation is for Christmas lights.